Prices rise as demand for beef, lamb and poultry exceeds supply

by | Apr 14, 2021

As the hospitality sector begins to reopen in the UK, suppliers are anticipating strong steak, poultry and burger sales into the summer months. That’s good news, but according to Campbell Brothers – a Scottish supplier of quality meat, fresh fish and seafood and produce – there is a concern regarding the supply available versus the anticipated demand as processers try to get back to normal kill levels across all the meat sectors. This level of normality most likely will not return until the end of this year, however, cattle prices are already at an all-time high and poultry is rising in price and in tight supply.

According to the Campbell Brothers Butch Market Report, retail sales have remained high over the course of lockdown, and sales are expected to increase during the summer months as consumers avoid travel and stay home. Supermarket chains are struggling to keep shelves stocked and as hospitality reopens, pressure on processors and suppliers in the UK and EU will increase.

The report provides the following summary on beef, lamb and poultry availability and pricing for the remainder of 2021.


You can expect an increase of 15% on certain cuts such as prime steak (rib eyes, fillets, rumps & sirloins, and a 20% increase on middle cuts and burger meat. Prices for exported beef from Europe and South America have also risen 12-20%. Lead times have also increased as other countries are tapping into their supply chain, which makes the current situation even more challenging.


Lamb prices are at an all time high with today’s lamb price averaging £6.10kg. With lower availability supply from the UK, imported products from the EU, New Zealand and Australia will also incur increased pricing.


There are issues with supply on certain ‘in demand’ cuts as supplies remain tight due in part to the EU not killing as many birds. The result has seen price increases up to 25% on breast meat and wings. There is an expectation that these prices will remain until stocks recover and processers have an idea of what demand may be required.

As your business recovers and ramps up for the summer, consider partnering with Enhance for all your purchasing needs. Our team of experts can help in several areas including tenders, fresh produce management and gross margin improvement.

Get started by contacting Andy Morris at